More than 300 detained in Russia for paying respects to Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny

Police detain a man as he wanted to lay flowers paying their last respect to Alexei Navalny at the monument, a large boulder from the Solovetsky islands.
Police detain a man as he wanted to lay flowers paying their last respect to Alexei Navalny at the monument, a large boulder from the Solovetsky islands. Copyright AP/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button
Copy/paste the article video embed link below:Copy to clipboardCopied

Russians continue to lay flowers in tribute to opposition leader Alexei Navalny following his sudden death in an Arctic prison.

ADVERTISEMENT

More than 300 people were detained in Russia while paying tribute to the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a prominent rights group reported on Sunday.

The sudden death of the 47-year-old at a remote Arctic penal colony was a crushing blow to many Russians, who had pinned their hopes for the future on President Vladimir Putin's fiercest foe. 

Navalny remained vocal in his unrelenting criticism of the Kremlin even after surviving a nerve agent poisoning and receiving multiple prison terms.

The news of his death reverberated across the globe, with many world leaders blaming Putin and his inner circle, whom Navalny had routinely criticised for their corruption and opulence. 

 In an exchange with reporters shortly after leaving a Saturday church service, US President Joe Biden reiterated his stance that Putin was ultimately to blame for Navalny’s death.

“The fact of the matter is, Putin is responsible. Whether he ordered it, he’s responsible for the circumstance,” Biden said. “It’s a reflection of who he is. It cannot be tolerated.”

Other politicians took a more cautious stance. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Sunday that he wouldn’t “jump to conclusions” over Navalny's death.

Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, published a picture of the couple on Instagram Sunday in her first social media post since her husband’s death. The caption read simply: “I love you.”

People attend a protest march near the Russian emabssy in Berlin, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024
People attend a protest march near the Russian emabssy in Berlin, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024Markus Schreiber/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Hundreds of people in dozens of Russian cities streamed to ad-hoc memorials and monuments to victims of political repression with flowers and candles on Friday and Saturday to pay tribute to the politician. 

In 39 cities, police detained 366 people by Sunday evening, according to the OVD-Info rights group that tracks political arrests and provides legal aid.

More than 200 arrests were made in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, the group said. By Sunday evening, court officials in St. Petersburg reported rulings ordering 154 of those detained to serve from one to 14 days in jail.

Memorial events also took place in cities across the world.

Pussy Riot protest in Berlin

In Berlin, members of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot held a demonstration outside of the Russian Embassy, holding banners that read “murderers” in English and Russian.

The group, which included Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Lusya Shtein, as well as long-time Navalny ally Lyubov Sobol and former Russian state media journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, planned to march with the banner to the city's Brandenburg Gate but were ultimately stopped by police.

Tolokonnikova told reporters after the demonstration that such actions were meant to show “that we exist.”

“We show ourselves to each other and support each other, and show with this action that Russia still has a future, and the idea of a ‘beautiful Russia of the future’ hasn't died," she said, using a term Navalny has famously coined. 

“Right now (some are) saying that hope died together with Navalny. But it seems to me that with (the death of) Navalny it wasn’t the hope that died, but rather responsibility was born.”

A woman leaves a tribute to Russian politician Alexi Navalny, near to the Russian Embassy in London, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024.
A woman leaves a tribute to Russian politician Alexi Navalny, near to the Russian Embassy in London, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024.Kirsty Wigglesworth/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Dozens of people in Romania’s capital of Bucharest also gathered outside the Russian Embassy on Sunday to pay tribute to the opposition leader.

ADVERTISEMENT

Many lit candles and placed flowers next to a memorial portrait of Navalny, while several people brandished placards that read: “You don’t win free elections by murdering the opposition.”

In Finland, a group of Russian residents gathered signatures for a petition proposing a name change for a park adjacent to the Russian Embassy in the capital, Helsinki, to Navalny Park in honour of the deceased opposition figure.

Share this articleComments

You might also like

Russia classifies Radio Free Europe as an 'undesirable organisation'

UK sanctions officials at Russian penal colony where Alexei Navalny died

Russian human rights defender Oleg Orlov turns 71 in prison